[PDF/EPUB] Hidden Valley Road Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker

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The heartrending story of a midcentury American family with twelve children six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia that became science's great hope in the uest to understand the diseaseDon and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American dream After World War II Don's work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom the oldest born in 1945 the youngest in 1965 In those years there was an established script for a family like the Galvins aspiration hard work upward mobility domestic h. The odds of reading two books at the same time where both families have twelve children has to be high That though is there only commanality I ve never read anything like this it was both hard to read because if subject matter and well done Mimi and Don Kohler wanted the American dream a large family happy marriage happy life After WWII Done work with the Air Force brought them to California where at first the family prospered Ten boys were born in succession followed finally by two girls As the children grew Mimi was a strict organizer priding herself on keeping her family in line or so it appeared Six of the boys would in time develop mental illnesses and schizophrenia the main offenderCannot even begin to imagine how one copes with this kind of challenge With great compassion Kolker tells the story of this belegured family The hospitalazations medication violence fear hidden abuse as I m said hard to read The family story alternates with the scientific investigations theories that changed from year to year this family of particular interest to researchers How the other family members copes or didn t reuiring years if therapy in some cases One can t help but feel for them all this insidious mental illness causing havoc sadness and tragedy for allARC from Edelweiss

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Hidden Valley Road Inside the Mind of an American Family

Ra of institutionalization lobotomy and the schizophrenogenic mother to the search for genetic markers for the disease always amid profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself And unbeknownst to the Galvins samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today offering paths to treatment prediction and even eradication of the disease for future generations With clarity and compassion bestselling and award winning author Robert Kolker uncovers one family's unforgettable legacy of suffering love and hope. This was I think my first book tackling one of the most mysterious diseases schizophrenia Mr Kolker explains the ways it was treated in the past in a most accessible way at least I not belonging to a medical profession understood most of it which does not mean I remembered everything as there is a lot of information including names of the doctors and those of the medicamentsMr Kolker took a sad history of one American family the Galvins living in Colorado as the background for his informative non fiction Mimi and Don Galvin had twelve children and six of them boys developed schizophrenia as they grew up These unusual cases six male siblings suffering from this medical condition allowed doctors to do research into the reasons behind schizophrenia which provided a better understanding of itWhat made this story sad for me was not only the cases of this terrible disease but also other forms of abuse and neglect which were hard to read about All in all this is not a book that puts a reader in an upbeat mood but it is definitely worth the read It is written clearly and gives a broad picture of ways to define and cure a disease which terrifies us PS The Gavins seem to be a big family but last year I watched some news on a Polish family consisting of 21 children 2018 plus parents

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Armony and they worked hard to play their parts But behind the scenes was a different story psychological breakdown sudden shocking violence hidden abuse By the mid 1970s six of the ten Galvin boys one after another were diagnosed as schizophrenic How could all this happen to one family What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia from the e. 35 stars Fascinating readable and depressing as hell Unfortunately this fell a little short for me in a few waysAt first the hook of this book is enough to draw your attention Just one family with twelve children where half of them have diagnoses of schizophrenia When you hear it it s is such a strange and unusual thing that you do not see it as real experiences Kolker s main goal here is to change that to make you see the real impact the illness has on people how it affects them over days and years He intersperses their story with the history of the scientific research into schizophrenia Both stories are interesting and well written but for me both were flawedThe family s story is hampered in ways Kolker cannot really help While there are 14 members of the Galvin family it s uite clear that only 3 spent considerable time with Kolker Many have died And it s absolutely understandable why many of the siblings who are not schizophrenic would have had enough of the whole thing and not want to be extensively interviewed but as a reader I kept expecting the story to open up outside of the three women in it except it rarely did An even bigger obstacle that Kolker cannot help is that the schizophrenic siblings are not generally capable of providing their own point of view as they are suffering not only from their illness but from the serious toll the treatments have taken on them But it is a badly needed counterpoint It is hard to see a story about mental illness that does not include any voices from the mentally ill I think it could have benefited from of an effort to present to the reader what their experiences were like through research and interviews with other schizophrenic people I certainly would have appreciated it the ill siblings often feel like objects to be managed than people and it often left a bad taste in my mouthI also found that the emphasis on the mother and two daughters was sometimes too bogged down with their history and grudges Again these are all entirely understandable but much of the end of the book is made up almost entirely of the daughters attempts to work through their anger from their childhood They have suffered immensely and I am full of sympathy for them but when we dive into their specific ways of coping with these old traumas the book can lose focus It also made me feel weird about the mother Mimi who is seen by the daughters as having prioritized their ill brothers over their own needs and this is generally presented as the factual account We find later that Mimi is rather determined not to present her own point of view but it does make it feel lopsided I cannot imagine what kind of choices she was presented with and choosing to continue to care for her ill sons was certainly a choice that had conseuences but it s unclear what other options this family had Every choice was a difficult one and relying so heavily on the daughters accounts pulls us out of that impossible situationAnd for the last of my nitpicks it is again no fault of Kolker s but the science part of the narrative is uite interesting but we find ourselves in the sad state at the end of the book where while significant changes in approach and thinking have been made the way we treat schizophrenia has hardly changed at all and it will likely be decades before those changes come about I think maybe it was my fault as a reader expecting there to be some big shift around the next corner but it could also be the way the book is structured and presented Yes I know this has been one of those reviews that is mostly negative even though my feelings on the book are mostly positive but I am confident this book has enough people singing its praises that I feel its important to say them I d also like to note that Kolker often refers to those with schizophrenia as mad or insane and those who do not have it as sane which was not my favorite There is also a really really really significant amount of domestic violence and child molestation in this book if those are difficult topics for you I suspect this book will be Too Much


10 thoughts on “Hidden Valley Road Inside the Mind of an American Family

  1. says:

    Meet the Galvin familyTHIS IS A MIND BLOWING STORYFASCINATING UNBELIEVABLE RIVETING INFORMATIVE HEARTBREAKING This is one of those non fiction b

  2. says:

    The odds of reading two books at the same time where both families have twelve children has to be high That though is there only commanality I've never read anything like this it was both hard to read because if subject matter and well done Mimi and Don Kohler wanted the American dream a large family happy marriage happy life After WWII Done

  3. says:

    The Scourge of Schizophrenia This frightening and seemingly unfathomable true story is about a family with 12 children in which 6 of the boys develop schizophrenia So much suffering is hard to take in For not only did the sick boys endure unbelievable hardships the well were left to take care of themselves Parents of one sick child ignore their healthy children but when there are so many this behaviour is a l

  4. says:

    “For a family schizophrenia is primarily a felt experience as if the foundation of the family is permanently tilted in the direction of the sick family member Even if just one child has schizophrenia everything about the

  5. says:

    This is a harrowing and intricate nonfiction account of an all American family of twelve ten boys and two girls born between 1945 and 1965 I can’t begin to imagine having a family of this size much less cope with the onset and aftermath of six of the boys’ schizophrenia There is abuse among family members as well as what is now considered to be abusive treatment of the afflicted The Galvin family was instrumental in

  6. says:

    35 stars Fascinating readable and depressing as hell Unfortunately this fell a little short for me in a few waysAt first the hook of this book is enough to draw your attention Just one family with twelve children where half of them have diagnoses of schizophrenia When you hear it it's is such a strange and unusua

  7. says:

    See my full review over on booktube

  8. says:

    This was I think my first book tackling one of the most mysterious diseases schizophrenia Mr Kolker explains the ways it was treated in the past in a most accessible way at least I not belonging to a medical profession understood mo

  9. says:

    Before my review I just want to say this book left a lump in my throat it was an emotional journey I felt it in my gut and wish I could reach out and support every single one of the Galvin children parents toovia my blog 'Mary’s mother is well practiced at laughing off moments like these behaving as if nothing is strange To do anything else would be the same as admitting that she lacks any real control over the situation that

  10. says:

    WORST PARENTS EVERThis book was a bit of a chaotic hot mess at the beginning and I almost gave up on it a couple of times The author meanders through long descriptions of sewing shut the eyes of birds for falconry then into tangents about the history of studying mental illness and a whole bunch of other stuff I've forgotten I stuck with it because I wanted to know about the family and it did get coherent after

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